The Battle for Increased Nursing Home Accountability on Long Island
Nursing homes are entrusted with providing safe, compassionate care to our most vulnerable loved ones. However, a pattern of subpar care has emerged throughout the industry, particularly in Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island. As advocates, lawmakers, and industry experts work tirelessly to improve oversight and enforce stricter penalties against negligent nursing homes, families must also stay vigilant in protecting their loved ones’ rights.
In this post, we will explore the current state of nursing home oversight in New York State and across the country. We’ll discuss how these issues impact Long Island facilities specifically, as well as examine various efforts aimed at holding nursing homes accountable for providing high-quality care.
Current State of Nursing Home Oversight
Across the United States, nursing homes are subject to federal regulations set by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as well as state-specific rules overseen by individual health departments. Unfortunately, many critics argue that both federal and state-level fines imposed on nursing homes fall short of adequately penalizing facilities that provide substandard care.
For instance, New York State ranks among the bottom fourth nationwide when it comes to imposing fines against nursing homes. With an average annual fine of only $9,700 per facility—including those not penalized at all—many operators view these minimal financial consequences as merely “the cost of doing business.”
Long Island’s Struggle with Nursing Home Quality
On Long Island specifically—home to 79 nursing homes in Nassau County and Suffolk County—20 facilities received a combined total of $144,250 in fines from the State Health Department in 2022. These penalties were imposed for various health and safety violations, including some deeply troubling incidents.
For example, two Long Island nursing homes were fined for failing to provide potentially lifesaving care to residents who staff mistakenly believed had “do not resuscitate” (DNR) orders. In both cases, these errors tragically led to the residents’ deaths. Another facility was fined after a certified nursing assistant sexually abused two residents.
Efforts to Improve Accountability
In response to these ongoing concerns about nursing home quality on Long Island and throughout New York State, advocates and lawmakers have called for increased oversight and stronger penalties. One such measure is a 2021 law establishing minimum staffing levels at nursing homes statewide. Under this law, facilities must maintain staffing levels equal to 3.5 hours of care per resident daily by a certified nurse aide, registered professional nurse, or licensed practical nurse.
Additionally, federal lawmakers like U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand have urged CMS to create minimum staffing standards for all U.S. nursing homes as part of broader efforts to improve accountability within the industry.
Your Call to Action: Protecting Your Loved Ones on Long Island
While progress is being made toward increasing accountability within the nursing home industry on Long Island and beyond, families must remain proactive in advocating for their loved ones’ rights.
If you suspect your family member has experienced abuse or neglect while residing at a Nassau County or Suffolk County nursing home—or if you simply want expert guidance navigating this complex landscape—contact our dedicated legal team at Alonso Krangle LLP today.
Our compassionate attorneys are well-versed in elder care law and will work tirelessly alongside you to seek justice for your loved one while advocating for improved oversight and accountability within the industry as a whole. Don’t wait to pursue your family member’s rights or protect their well-being; call (800) 403-6191 now for assistance.